Having already argued that South Africa must be aggressive in preserving what has been won in the past, as we enter the rough seas of Brexit trade negotiations, I was pleased to see our trade and industry minister Rob Davies being able to shed a little light on strategy, after addressing an African trade launch in Pretoria.
Davies said the British have told us they foresee no big interruption in our trade, and indeed they may be more open on agricultural regulations than other EC countries.
There is still no clarity on how relations will be structured, but South Africa wants this to be based on the EU’s current regional framework for trade, the EPA.
The EPA and other trade deals gives ZA some advantages in terms of tariff rate quotas, and when the EU enlarged ZA didn’t get additional quotas.
“That being the case, we feel there should be no reduction if a member leaves,” Davies said.
He wasn’t sure when the British will trigger Brexix, but he doubted that all the trade issues could be tied up within the two-years beyond that, as is planned.
“The biggest impact of Brexit is not going to be in trade – the UK only accounts for 4% of total SA trade,” said Davies. “The biggest impact will be what uncertainty does for us. We are watching it. I did write to the UK High Commissioner to mark our territory.”
Whatever the politicians say publicly, there is a lot at stake, and protectionist forces are bound to rear their heads. It will be a tough few years.
In another development, Davies launched the new Africa Investment and Trade office – ironically on the same day his officials are in Zimbabwe, trying to reverse that country’s recent import bans on ZA goods.
Tweet of the Day:
Bill Murray (@BiIIMurray): It’s amazing how many people are allergic to gluten, peanuts, and facts.
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